THE COMPANY MEN is very difficult to watch if you are among the millions of people who have been laid off by the current economic recession/meltdown in this country. Writer/Director John Wells understands the grave aspects of losing a job as corporations and businesses downsize in response to the current economic disaster - depression, humiliation, loss of self-worth and pride, fear of failure in finding new employment, the effects of job loss on marriages and families, loss of hope - it is all here in this very well made film. If the first part of the film causes a reactive tachycardia and an urge to simply stop watching the story, then the closing moments of the film bring at least a little redemption in the faith that man can actually survive and reassess and stop being a victim of a situation over which few of us have any control.
GTX is a shipbuilding empire in Boston, the brainchild of Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) who brought a simple ship building business to a wealthy corporation now run by CEO James Salinger (Craig T. Nelson): McClary is a billionaire with a wife concerned with shopping sprees using the corporate jet and a lover Sally Wilcox (Maria Bello), the HR director of the corporation. The year is 2008 and the stock market and the economy in general have dipped to a new low and terrifying point. The result: downsizing and one of the first to go is sales manager Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) who is shocked and then hurt and then overcome with a feeling of failure and humiliation. Bobby's wife Maggie (Rosemarie DeWitt) at first responds with desperation but adjusts by taking on work as an ER nurse, coaxing their son to not lose hope in Bobby. Bobby tries to find work but is the victim of the joblessness of the country: he finally accepts Maggie's brother Jack's (Kevin Costner) offer to to work as a simple carpenter. Meanwhile the downsizing includes Gene and longterm employee Phil (Chris Cooper) who is overcome with anger and humiliation at being unemployable because of his advanced age. The manner in which each of these three men cope with the loss of job and income weaves a story that is complete with tragedy as well as a demonstration of the indomitability of the human spirit.
THE COMPANY MEN contains many messages about coping with change, preparing for a realistic financial future, and the delicate line that separates each day's stance on the tightrope of existence. While the story is difficult to watch, the performances by this exceptional cast are excellent, not only among the Oscar winning stars but by the finely wrought cameos by Anthony O'Leary as Bobby's son Drew, Cady Huffman, and Eamonn Walker (so well remember from the TV series OZ), among many others.
This is tough medicine but necessary views on contemporary society.
The Company Men
The Company Men
When the GTX Corporation must cut jobs to improve the company's balance sheet during the 2010 recession, thousands of employees will take the hit, like Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck). Bobby learns the real life consequences of not having a job. Not only does he see a change to his family lifestyle, and the loss of his home, but also his feelings of self-worth.
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March 18, 2019 at 04:50 AM